Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is the new Periwinkle (Shanna Covington) doing her "thang" for some Snyder, TX pre-schoolers. (major handfull to keep short spanned attentions) She is a story teller extraordinaire, great author, better than most as an illustrator! She has several books in the works of her own in the works and some for other clients.

Her mother is author, Tonya Shook, she publishes books or gets them print ready for publishing on CreateSpace, POD (with royalty checks paid from Amazon sales.) . Contact:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book Review: The Leaf

As part of the Bona Fide tradition, it was customary for children to exchange bookmarks as their Christmas gifts to one another. Reading was a way of life in Bellager. Each bookmark given was to remain in one book as it’s companion and protector, preventing a reader from committing the terrible act of folding pages.”

- from “The Leaf“, by Jo_Ann Rodriguez

A joy to read, this book was filled with imagination, wonder, and innocence. A perfect book to read to your child at bedtime or story time.

The setting is the land of Bellager; Bella the Spanish word for beautiful and ager, the Latin word for land. It is the home of rare trees, unexpected places, and hidden secrets. Leaf collecting was a tradition in this land of unique trees.

The story focuses on young David Earl, an inquisitive dreamer who dared to take his grandfathers ’stories’ as true even though all others believed them to be fables.

His journey’s takes him through many adventures both great and small, good and evil. Along the way, David meets elves, and fairies, and Kings, and Princes on his way to the Great Tree of Wisdom from which he hopes to gain the Leaf that would restore peace to the land of Bellager.

Imaginations are sparked in this children/young adult novel. Jo-Ann Rodriguez has captured her daydreams and recorded them for telling or reading. I especially like emphasis and high importance of lifelong reading, a valuable instruction for children.

I enjoy this book. As I write this review, I can imagine the faces of children as their mother or father reads this story to them or as they read it for themselves.

A very inspiring children/young adult novel, recommended highly.

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (March 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438941242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438941240

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Ada, Oklahoma author Krystal Russell announces a delightful new children's work Lucas and His Long Loopy Laces,
"Lucas doesn't tie his shoes. That's why his laces are full of loops! Join Lucas on a long, loopy adventure that shows the power of your imagination. You'll meet his unexpected companions who can't help but get tangled up in his laces as he travels from under the sea to outer space and back home again!"
For ages 3 and up. 44 pages, rhyming. 8.5" x 8.5".
Available: Talltail Publishing &

Tall Tails Publishing House
tel: 580-559-3561

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book Review: The Little Pot (Dawn Stephens)

The Little Pot by Dawn Stephens

Book Summary: In the Little Pot, a potter lovingly forms a new pot and declares that he has important plans for his creation. The little pot wonders what its purpose will be. Will it be used to hold important documents? Great riches? Beautiful flowers? As various expectations prove wrong, the little pot is cautioned to wait and see.

Gradually the little pot comes to realize that its creator knows best and has the most wonderful of all uses planned for it.

Warm illustrations beautifully enhance this charming allegory about patience and fulfillment. A gentle reference to God will appeal to people of every faith.

Book Review - What a beautiful children’s book with a wonderful storyline teaching children a lesson many grown-ups would do well to learn.

Beautifully illustrated, this story centers around a little pot that is continually being emptied, poured out, and refilled.

Great word picture for opening a child’s mind to the concept of ‘giving oneself away‘.

Children will identify with the feelings of loss each time the little pot is emptied and rejoice as it becomes filled again.

A great story time book that can be read and reread again to help children learn to look beyond what they may loose and rejoice the hope of what God plans for them.

Author: Dawn Stephens
Illustrator: Dawn Stephens
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: bPlus Books; 2009 edition (March 16, 2009)

Reviewed by:
Gina Hendrix
Vessel Project Book Reviewer

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Re-discover Classic Fairy Tales

Explore this wonderful site and listen to classic fairy tales. Fairy tales are very important to the healthy development of a child. They encourage the imagination, they provide a common language for cultural literacy and development, they provide safe teaching-learning gateways, and are means for learning the common morale lessons of human history.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


For those of you following the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (designed to decrease the levels of lead and phthalates in products intended for children 12 years of age or younger) and the interpretation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that the legislation covers books:
• As you know, on January 30th, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released an announcement to the Federal Register staying implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) until February 10, 2010.
• On March 24, US Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) introduced legislation to amend the CPSIA to exempt ordinary books from the lead limits within the bill. This legislation specifically exempts books and would ensure that children continue to have access to safe, educational and entertaining reading materials.

For more information, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission webpage on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act or the ALA Washington Office’s District Dispatch website.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meet A Fairy - Catch A Dream! Border Queen Book Festival March 7, Comanche, Ok

Noted Oklahoma auhtor Tonya Shook writes "I would like to give an invitation to attend the second Border Queen Book Festival in Comanche, OK. on Saturday, March 7th from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. We have 50 authors from 6 different states attending. There is no cost, it is a free event where you may visit with an author, publisher, or illustrator of both children's and adult books of every genre. This is a growing event giving teachers an opportunity for Personal Development Certification Points if your schools allow such. We will be at the Asbury Complex, 410 S. 2nd Street, a beautiful facility to accommodate a large crowd. Lunch can be purchased on the site for $6. Our event is an all-volunteer effort that supports Literacy Awareness in our corner of the pasture in Oklahoma. Come take advantage of this educational experience. " --Tonya Holmes Shook, Director/Coordinator of the Border Queen Book Festival
MEDIA RELEASE Border Queen Book Festival 2009 Oklahoma’s second Border Queen Book Festival (BQBF) will be held Saturday, March 7, 2009, from 10 - 3 PM in the new Asbury Complex at 410 South 2nd Street in Comanche, OK. The City of Comanche expects statewide attendance with added attractions scheduled for 2009, a Chautauqua being one of them on Friday evening, March 6th. We are expecting 50 authors, publishers and illustrators to be in attendance for BQBF 2009. Food will be available again at the Asbury Complex at noon. Free admission offers opportunity to meet authors and purchase autographed books. To kick off the 2009 festival a Chautauqua type program free of charge to the public on Friday night will co-feature Dr. Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, and his wife, Sally, State Representative of House District 84, at the Asbury Complex from 6:30 – 7:45 PM. Dr. Kern will express his views on the Evolution vs. Creation debate and Sally will speak on Freedom of Expression and Teaching the Controversy in Public Schools, a bill she has authored. Kern’s book, “No Other Gods - The Biblical Creation Worldview,” written from a compilation of lectures given over a twenty year period, supports his program position and will be for sale that evening as well as at the book festival the next day. Information from science, archeology, history, and scripture are presented as evidence for faith based in Creation. Added attractions for the second BQBF include a local essay contest for middle school children sponsored by Southern Oklahoma Arts Council with recognition and prize money to be given to winners; an entertaining and award winning percussion band performance is slated; the highly acclaimed guest speakers will be on Friday night before the book festival Saturday. After the Friday night program Comanche’s own Cowboy Opry on Rodeo Drive will offer live entertainment for a donation fee at 8 p.m. Fat Boys Pizza and Comanche Arts and Antiques across the street will remain open late for business for Comanche’s guests. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn, eight miles north of Comanche in Duncan, #580-252-1500. A new Hampton Inn has just been opened and you might like to check this out as well and the newly renovated Comanche Motel, 580-439-8898. Any questions can be directed to Tonya Holmes Shook at . Border Queen Book Festival
Tonya concludes, "This is my daughter who will be at the Border Queen Book Festival in Comanche, OK March 6-7 as Periwinkle VonSkittlebaum, a real live fairy godmother. She wants to go to the schools again and interact with the children by telling them a story about Odd-Leigh, a little fairy with flaming red hair who was ostracized for being different. The story celebrates differences and tells the children it is all right to be different and that people matter no matter what wrapping they are in. All this is volunteer effort done for the sake of literacy awareness in our corner of the pasture in Oklahoma. Tonya Holmes Shook, Director/Coordinator "

Make believe is for dreamers.
But where do dreamers go?
They hide inside themselves at night
Dreaming impossible goals.

Dreaming is for dreamers.
But dreamers most always cry.
The ruin of dreams that reason pulls
Reflects in a dreamer’s eye.

Their mind is always touring.
A dream around each bend.
A dreamer’s heart weighs heaviest when
A dream is at its end.

Dreamers go on dreaming.
Though logic’s here to stay.
A dreamer’s dream is that when they wake,
All logics gone away.

I wish to be a dreamer.
Dreamer’s dreams fulfill.
Logic has just one way out...
But a dreamer never will!

Shanna Covington-alias
“Periwinkle VonSkittlebaum”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frog Pond. Marilyn A. Hudson

A frog sat by a pond and sang out mighty low
Burump- Burump - Burump
all day long the frogs sang so -
Burump - Burump - Burump

A fish swam all around a big, blue pond
Gulp -gulp- gulp
all the day long the fish swan so

A bee flew all around the pond and this is what he said.
Buzz- buzz -buzz
all the day long the bee flew around so
Buzz- buzz- buzz

A bird flew over the pond and this is what she said…..
Chirp -chirp -chirp
all day long the bird flew around singing
Chirp- chirp -chrip

All around - al around - all around the pond they sang

What Storytellers Wish They Could Tell Schools

BOOKENDS: What Storytellers Wish They Could Tell You

1. Know why it is that you want to expose your students to the art of storytelling. As you clearly define what role you hope oral tradition will play in your class or school life you will also be helping the performer to know how to craft the visit for mutual satisfaction. “We thought a storyteller would be fun!” is a good reason but far better are: “ We were studying various art forms and wanted the oral arts represented” , “We’ve been studying folklore and myth and thought the students hearing stories communicated in a traditional and ancient manner would add to the lessons,” or “ We thought that since children learn in so many diverse ways that a storyteller –bringing an auditory component – would bring an excellent dimension to the event.”
2. Clear with your building administrator to make sure that there are no problems with your plans and you have their support for bringing an enriching program to your class/library/school.
3. Place on school calendar. Get the information out early enough so that everyone gets to learn of the event, that information goes out on any mailings, or send-home packets.
4. Know how much you can spend to bring a professional teller into your setting. Some storytellers have firm price packages. Others may be more flexible, especially if they are not full time tellers. What might you use to barter a price with a storyteller? Can you guarantee a spot on the local cable TV show, a big write-up in the newspaper, or a secondary storytelling job in the same area?
5. Make sure that everything is placed in writing using a standard contract format that defines who, what, when, where, and how much. Any special additions/restrictions/etc. will need to be added to this and both parties sign and receive copies of the signed contract.
6. Plan for problems. Illnesses, missed flights, sudden death or loss of funding can all happen without warning. Remain flexible and even the worst case scenario will be much easier to handle.
7. Check with the administration about any special forms/clearances required by your system or administrative offices before a performer can a) visit your school and b) receive their check. Make sure your performer gets a copy of this in a timely manner so that payment is not unnecessarily delayed.
8. Advertise the visit among students, teachers, staff, and parents.
9. Prepare the groundwork for a wonderful experience by a) explaining your goal for the event, b) explaining storytelling, c) sharing audience etiquette with students and other staff.
10. Call or write close to the date to confirm all arrangements.
11. Provide clear directions to location.
12. Have someone on hand to a) greet (“Yes, you have the right place” b) direct (“The library is here, the restrooms here, etc.) and c) assist your guest storyteller (“would you like some water, a chair?”).
13. Make any necessary announcements prior to introduction. These may include last minute notices to staff and teachers, requests that pagers be turned off, and reminders about proper behavior.
14. Introduce your guest to the audience. If you are uncomfortable with introductions, ask the artist ahead of time to provide you with a script to use as you introduce them.
15. Thank your guest performer at the conclusion of the event. Even if the event was not all you hoped for it is a good role model for students and staff.
16. Follow up with a written thank you to the guest artist. Include copies of any PR material that may have appeared in newsletters, local papers, etc.

Just as the visiting artist should be expected to impress you with his or her level of professionalism….the teacher, administrator, librarian, or school district should also set out to impress the visiting artist that they are a place worth the artist’s time and effort.
Our school library is not able to fund the type of books necessary to encourage reading among my students.
Make Your Class A Star
· Partner with public library
· Foster parent-child use of the public library
· Motivate readers through a reward.

Community children are not reading
The Reading Club (I.E, “The Chapters CafĂ©”, “Curious George Bunch”, “Eager Readers”, etc.)

Our school library is outdated and unable to meet the demands of our older students.
“Roaming Research” in which school/class and local library collaborate on the research instruction process with a local reference librarian or children’s or young adult librarian.

I’d like to encourage the art among my students, but we don’t have any real enthusiasm for it at my school.
Contact the local library about displaying Student art projects to provide a means of promoting student artists.
Team with the local library for an afterschool or Saturday artists-in-residence type program combining funds and library space.
Unite to promote drama, storytelling, writing, and music.

My school lacks a real connection to its community. I’d like to have them come to appreciate the heritage that exists.
Local History Alive!; An Oral History Project, planned in cooperation with the local library.
This provides older students with an opportunity to learn valuable communication skills (interviewing), writing skills, gain new awareness of local and oral history.
The public library could donate space for interviews, promote it, help with recording, and perhaps add it to their permanent local history collection.
Also, consider a panel discussion at the public library to address local politics and government.

Too many young children are entering Kindergarten without necessary skills and preparation to succeed in school.
Success by 6

The Metropolitan Library System’s adoption of the philosophy of a family friendly and parent empowering public library is one example of a means by which the library partners with area community agencies to provide valid information referrals for parents, offers developmentally appropriate programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age children.
Working in conjunction with other community agencies – such as the “Success By Six” program of United Way, the Child Advocacy Institute, Reach Out and Read, and many others – the library system has made helping children succeed a priority. Recognizing that all current research indicates that the years leading up to formal schooling are crucial for success while in school, the library is targeting county children ages birth to three years of age. The goal: educate parents about the vital role they play as a child’s first teacher, encourage and model reading with children, help place books into the hands of both parents and children.


Let Me Tell You A Story. M. Hudson


“Once upon a time…”
Remember the wonder those words could create when you were a child? With just a few simple words, transport you into a new, marvelous place filled with mystery, laughter, and knowledge. That same feeling can be found if you are a storyteller.
The humor of the human experience has always held a significant place of honor but many are discovering the varied world of the story. This ancient art form, once relegated to children’s programs in schools or libraries, is being rediscovered by adults as a marvelous way to communicate, to share their experiences in the workplace, and to assist in the process of physical and emotional healing.
· Kylia uses stories to excite her sixth grade science class. Using a “rest of the story” approach she lures students into discovering the adventure behind major discoveries.

· Pat has been opening her board meetings with stories that put the human face on the company. Problems are shared, behaviors corrected, not through accusations, but through stories that invite participation in problem solving.
· Darla addresses her church , not through sermons or lessons, but through stories that support and illustrate the values she wants to convey.
· Jane tells her patients stories as she cares for them in their homes or in the hospital. Believing that laughter is the best medicine in helping people deal with pain or struggle, she has a many funny, human stories that leave them with a smile and maybe a little courage to face their own problems.
· Maggie volunteers at a local library where she reads and tells stories to children as a surrogate grandmother. She knows that unless she does this, many children will never learn the stories, silly songs, or familiar folk tales that were such a joy in her own childhood.
So how does a person become a storyteller? If you have an interest in becoming a storyteller, it is easier than you might think. Many people enjoy sharing stories in a wide variety of settings. The often meet to swap stories, learn new skills, and spread the fun they have in telling a good tale.
In Oklahoma there is a state wide organization called The Territory Tellers ( or with a purpose of supporting storytelling in all of its many forms. Membership is open to anyone with an interest, as a teller or even a listener. Small groups meet at various locales around the state. Nationally there is
The National Storytelling Network ( July 13-17, 2005, they will hold their national storytelling conference in Oklahoma City and the theme is “Movin’ On…Stories of Heart, Stories of Hope”.
Resources for storytelling are as near as your local public library or one from one the groups listed. Books of folktales, personal experiences, speeches, history, biography, newspaper articles, trivia, longer jokes (or several shorter ones strung together) can all be great sources for stories.
Learning can be easy and there is no memorization required.
1. Find a story you enjoy.
2. Read it over enough times so that you are very familiar with it.
3. Think about it. What does it mean? What does it remind you of?
4. Write a short version out. Read it aloud.
5. Visualize the parts of the story: the beginning, the middle, and the end.
6. Practice telling the story: out loud, in a mirror, to family and friends.
Before long you too can be a storyteller whose most common phrase might be….”let me tell you a story.”

Marilyn A. Hudson is a librarian, storyteller, and writer ( She can be heard on the sampler storytelling CD “Falling Leaves and Stories Everywhere” produced by the Territory Tellers and has written an original Oklahoma tall tale found in the first Red Dirt Anthology (Shawnee, 2004) available in many libraries.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wooden Bowl

There are many versions of this folktale - from many cultures - sometimes it is a bowl, sometimes a chair, sometimes a blanket,etc. This one came along via email so I am labeling the version as anonymous. If this is incorrect, please let me know.

The Wooden Bowl
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year - old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.'We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.' So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.
There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.'The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.